Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Don’t worry, not everything traumatizes your child!

As a parent of an almost 19 year old girl, I have done my share of sheltering and protecting. I was very conscious of what she watched on TV, what movies I allowed her to see, what she saw on the internet, who she spent time with and events, parties and people I allowed her to associate with. I was the modern day parent of the 21st century. 

I saw this not as being over protective, but more so as actually parenting my child and watching out for her best interest. I grew up in a very different time and environment - when the saying “the village raises the child” mindset really did ring true. My poor mom raised me all by herself and worked three jobs. So she really wasn’t around as much as she would have liked. She also did her best as a parent with the limited time she had. I didn’t really have much direction or time spent with my dad. He was pretty much and absentee parent without much effort in regards to the parent module. 

So I spent a ton of times with friends, exploring, hanging out, and at times getting in trouble. There were two saving graces in my life and one was music. I was in a rock band my entire life growing up and my goal was to become a Rock Star. The other was my martial arts this somehow was a natural thing for me and became my passion along with music. When I could have been hanging out and getting in trouble, I was rehearsing in my garage with my band or training at my martial art school. 

You may be thinking get to the point. Well, here you go……………… 

Here is my advice from a parent of a 19 year old college kid and a martial art teacher with 50 years of experience and 30+ years of teaching experience. 

1) Time spent staying busy is not necessarily time spent well. Just being wisped from activity to activity, does not make a well-rounded child. Sometimes less is more. 

2) You are not your child’s friend. You are their parent. That doesn’t say you can’t be best friends but it is certainly a different model. For example: I was always friends with my teachers in the martial arts, but they were not my buddies. They would put me in my place in a second. They were my mentors and as parents we are the example, the leader, the hero, the rock and the friend. We are NOT their buddies. I hope this makes sense. 

3) Remember, your child will not hate you or be traumatized if you do MAKE them do things they may not want to do at the moment. The one thing I hear more so now than ever, is “I don’t want to force my child to do this or that.” I think that is total bull, because you are forcing them every day. Let’s take potty training for example. Some say let them go when it is right for them and they run around in diapers till they are five or 6. Other parents push their children and they are potty trained at 2 or 3 the latest. I have never heard a child grow up blaming their parents for pushing them to be potty trained. In other words, pushing your child to stick with martial arts or music or sports, will not traumatize them. It will build them into productive youth, teens and adults. Make decisions based on what YOU know is right for them. They are not old enough to make good decisions yet. When they are, it will be good decision making based on how you taught them, not by chance. 

4) Do not give up so easily. What may seem like a huge mountain now, will become a small speed bump in the future. I have many parents that allow their children to quit training in the martial arts or sports because they are demotivated or bored or not happy. They do not realize that in 2, 4 or 6 months down the road their entire perspective could change. The goal is to get through the sticking points and not give into to them. Push past and you will be on the brink of excellence. Remember, they will never truly know what they missed out on, if they quit. 

5) Last but not least, look into your crystal ball and see, or imagine what the future may look like if they quit a said activity, then flip the scenario and envision what it would be like if they stuck with that particular activity. What would they be like in five years with it, or without it. Try to have some foresight on the future. Before you give in. 

In closing, I would like to say, being a parent is not an easy job so I commend you. Not everyone knows what to do, or has the support system to help them through. So I know you are doing the best you can with what experience you have. Remember, you are their only hope. The more time you spend, the better child you will have. Do your best to find the balance of freedom and expression allowing your child to have a life filled with exploration and imagination. Do not allow your children to control their own lives, always remember you are the parent and they will not hate you for being one. Our children see our parenting as love, not hate. Maybe not initially but in the long run.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to email me at Shihan@lininja.com.  Feel free to share this blog post with your friends and please comment below if you like what you read.  It helps others to feel comfortable with commenting. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

An Unlikely Gift!

There was a man who was having trouble with his marriage.  He and his wife grew to the point that they didn’t communicate, and truly disliked the sight of each other. 

The man approached his father and asked  “‘Father, I can't take it anymore.  My wife is driving me insane! She makes my life miserable, she goes out of her way to make me feel bad and I just can’t stand the sight of her.  I honestly want to kill her, but I'm afraid someone might find out that I did it. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in prison but I just need a way out.  Please help me!

The Father replied  “I can help you, but there are a few things you will have to do,  to make sure you are not looked at as a suspect.”

The son replied “I will do anything. I am at a point that I myself no longer want to live.”

The father went on to give him the rules. 

1) You are going to have to make amends with her, so no one suspects you are in a bad marriage. They can’t even see you speaking a single negative word about her.
2) You will have to take very good care of her.  Be kind,  be grateful, be patient, be caring, be less selfish, and listen more, help her with chores and anything she needs. Remember, people will be watching how you act around her. How you treat her will determine how they see your marriage and they will see in your actions how you feel. You have to truly play the part.
Here is a powder. While you are making her breakfast every morning put in one teaspoon of this in her orange juice.  Then sit with her and speak to her about the day ahead of you.  Every day you have to put a little in her food and it will eventually build up in her system and she will slowly die.

Thirty days had gone by and the son came back to the father and said “I have done what you said, on a daily basis and I have fed her the poison, but somehow my mind has shifted.  I no longer want her to die! I have come to love her once again, with all of my heart, just like I did when we first met and I feel she can see and feel the way I have been treating her and she loves me again as well.  How do I cut the effect of the poison?”

The father smiled and said “my son you already have.  The powder I gave you was only rice powder. It actually is good for you.  Do not worry she is not going to die.  The only poison that was there was the poison inside of you!  Once you learned to love her again and to not look at the negative, or the things that bothered you.  When you started looking at the good things, and remembering the things that made you fall in love in the first place.  The poison started to go away on its own.  You truly healed yourself and saved your marriage.”
When we feed grudges, look for the negative, only seeing what is wrong, but never remind ourselves of what is right, our appreciation, admiration, good will, and of course our love slowly dies. When we make peace with ourselves and with those who offend us, we learn to deal with one another on an entirely different level.  We learn to treat those how we would like to be treated.
Then, and only then we will have the initiative to love, to give, to offer, to serve, to care for others and live life to the fullest.  You do not need to win alone or to be served or to take advantage of and exploit someone else. You learn that the more you do for others, the more you will feel the rewards. 
We all need to stop, pray and ask for that antidote called forgiveness and remind ourselves of love!

Allie Alberigo is an author of five books.  His newest book is really getting rave reviews.  To pick up a copy FREE just pay shipping and handling.  Click the book below. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

“Sometimes people don’t know when to shut up.”

Now I am sure the title caught your attention, but in defense, I am not trying to be rude. I wanted to share with you my thoughts on the spoken word. As we know, a written word in a literal sense is most of the time understood based on the sentence structure. However even using punctuation for enfaces we still can take things out of context. For example “have a nice day.” Or “Have a NICE DAY!’ One can be perceived as a nice gesture while the other a dismissal. 

While texting and reading emails and posting on social media, many time things can be taken way out of context. That is why I would rather speak to someone face to face to show them how I feel with body language and facial expressions. However we are not always able to do that, so we have now added in filler words to show the intention. Such as you are so funny…. Lol……….. or I just read this and I am LMBO – laughing my butt off. These little fillers help to show the emotion of what the writer is feeling, without taking the chance on any miscommunication. 

With the lives we live in our modern 21st century society, communication is becoming harder and harder even though we have so many avenues to communicate. My suggestion is to live by the old golden rule, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. It is better to hold your tongue, than try to share your opinion if there is a chance that someone may take your words incorrectly. I don’t suggest staying quite all the time, especially if you feel the topic is in need of an objective opinion but be selective in what you say and remember people are very protective over their opinions. Be careful you don’t attempt to say something light heartedly and without knowing offend the other person. 

There are some areas too that you need to always be extremely careful with and that is stepping over the line. Even at times when you joke, the joke may not be made appropriately. For example: When speaking to your school teachers, martial art teachers, parents, spouses etc. Always remember spoken words, are easy to speak, but hard to retract or take back. The goal of course is always think before you speak, and think twice before you write something or post something. My recommendation is wait a day or two before you respond on hot topics. You may find after a few days, the thing that bothered you will diminish in priority and may not even be of importance any longer. 

I am finding more so then ever, that people are too free to speak their mind, insult others and call them names. I remember when I was young, if you said something offensive, you might end up getting punched in the nose. So we were more careful not to offend because it may have ended up in bodily harm or at least a bump or two. It may have resulted in a fist fight or a serious argument. Nowadays, the average person will think nothing of insulting another, cursing at them and calling them names, this sometimes over the most minor of issues or disagreements. I am always shocked and in awe at how easily two civil individuals can end up in a cursing match, insulting each other over a simply disagreement.

Remember, this thought – what will it all mean in a few days, or a week or a month. Will you still be annoyed at that person or angry enough to curse them out? I would guess “No.” So I highly recommending following this rule. 

1) Take a breath and if you are upset – wait a day to response or post something. 

2) If you are not happy with the results ask yourself “do I need to fight with this person over something so trivial or their opinion. Remember everyone has an opinion. Just like we all like different flavors of ice cream. 

3) Don’t be so quick to judge until you have walked some steps in their shoes. You don’t know how they formulated their opinion. Seek to first understand. 

4) Do not judge others until you know what they too are going through. Do not be angry if your opinions clash, or are different. They may have a totally valid point of view from their perspective. Maybe it is different from yours but it still may be valid. 

5) Do your best to have an open mind. If you want to debate, do it nicely without any name calling or person feelings attached. If we approached things from more of an open mind point of view, then we most certainly will be more open to their thoughts too. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Maybe we are just using the wrong words.

“Imagine if a simple shift in words could make a huge difference in the outcome? “

Just recently I had a chat with my leadership team and instructors in training at my martial art school.  Our topic was on the word “responsibility.”  I asked many of the students what they thought the word meant  and a current theme came up.  They mentioned “Chores.”  I found this interesting and I ran with it. 
Looking at the very meaning of the word according to the dictionary may say a lot for how people look at it.  The word Chore as defined means – noun – 1 - a small or odd job; routine task. 2. The     Chores, the everyday work around a house or farm.  3. a hard or unpleasant task: Solving the problem was quite a chore.

If you notice most words associated with the word chore mean something unpleasant or negative.  So why is it that we are not getting our children to love doing their chores?  It is quite simple – it appears to be punishment. Even if we bribe them with reward, it is something boring, hard, or annoying and unpleasant.

After speaking to my students I asked what the word responsibility meant. You know what was really interesting, it was a word shift. Most of my leadership kids and teens do chores. I said "the word of the day, is responsibility." Then I asked "who does chores." Many of them raised their hands. Then I asked "tell me some of your chores." They responded with amazing things. Feed my puppy and make sure he has water, clean and feed my hamster, clean my room, clear the table after dinner, go to bed on time, do my homework. Etc. I asked are those chores or a responsibilities?

They replied with the answer “it is a chore.” I explained further. If you didn't feed, your puppy or hamster or clean its cage what would happen. They responded "they would get sick or die." If mom or dad or both parents didn’t pay their bills and buy food and feed you, what would happen? They laughed.   I asked is it a chore for mom or dad, to do all of those things.  They all looked at me as if I was crazy.  You know why because it is just a responsibility.  Quite frankly doing all of those things for my daughter never felt like a chore. Although it was tough at times, I was still happy to have worked as hard as I did.  I asked “by having you do what you are supposed to do, is it a chore or a responsibility?”  When I explained it in that manner – they seemed to have looked at it differently and responded it is a "responsibility."

I used the word responded and responsibility in the same sentence to prove a point. How we teach or shift a person’s perspective is all about word association and how smart decisions are formed. I highly suggest that we stop associating work with the word chore and replace it with the word responsibility.  Making our children do chores is like asking them to do something terrible, but keep giving them responsibilities and it will make them feel accomplished and unstoppable just like adults. 

Each time they do things on their own without having to be reminded give them praise.  Make sure that they understand, they are expected to act responsible, and if they do not there are consequences.  Not punishments!  But if they don’t feed their hamster or puppy there are major consequences.  Responsibility is essential in our modern day society, yet so many people act without it.  How many people respond to difficult and unpleasant situations shows a lack of integrity, clarity? But a responsible person is expected to act professionally and accordingly and by acting with this level of responsibility it establishes who they are and who they will be in the future.   Just my two sense on this. I know it is cents, but I did it again. Sense vs cents during chores.

What do you think about this? 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The 5 Gateways to Happiness!

Are you aware that my book is still available. 

Thank you to all of those people who picked up a copy of my book.  It was shipped and read all over the world.  I am honored and so excited that people have read it, and commented positively.  I still have it available and I am still giving it away at my cost of shipping and handling at $8.95.

My goal is to help people, by shifting perspective and understanding the power of the mind.  I am hoping that people will read the book and if they use one strategy, then it will have been worth writing. 

I would be honored if you have the book and read it, to do a review on Amazon, or other media outlets. It will help spread the word.  Also, if you read the book and found it to be positive and you think it can help someone, pick up a copy and send it to them.  Let's pay this forward and really make a change on our planet.

You can simply click here to order your copy today!

Thank you in advance, and thank you for being on the quest to help the world.

Monday, February 26, 2018

The art of Exceptional-ism!

I know, I know at times I make up words or improperly string words together to make a point.   However, in my opinion this would be a great word.  How does one go from mediocre to exceptional?  How does one take on the journey of becoming amazing?  How does one celebrate the quest to be exceptional or live the life of their dreams on a daily basis?  Exceptional-ism is a choice and a life-style!

In the 21st Century we have become used to the thought that if this doesn’t work, I will just do the other thing instead.  We are inundated with choices and options for our children and ourselves so if one thing doesn’t work out, we move on to the next.  This goes against all I was taught as a child.  Remember the old saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”  Well, that saying has been replaced with “if at first you don’t succeed try again, and if that doesn’t work or it is too hard, or inconvenient, we will find something else and quit the thing that is giving you a difficult time.” 

In the 21st century most parents and adults are searching for that one thing that hits every point on their check list.  It excites, motivates and you are good at it.  Well, 99.9% of the time, this is not really going to happen.  If you are lucky, maybe you find the activity on the first try and stick with it.  However, the reality is, we continually search for our children or ourselves to shine in the activity that is best for them.
The age old saying is, you can polish a dull, ugly stone and with enough polishing it because a beautiful work of art possibly even a diamond in the rough or a gem.  The theory of practice makes perfect, is true.  We have a saying in the martial arts -  fall down 9 times get up ten. Basically it implies don’t quit, don’t give up, don’t  give in.  The real thought behind the sayings is simple, if you want something or as parents you want things for your child, then DO NOT let them quit.  You may want to refer to my other blog post “I quit!” or “Mom, I want to quit, will you quit with me?” 

I have also heard hundreds if not thousands of times parents tell me, “we don’t want to force our child.”  I know for a fact this is simply not true, because you force your children to do things all the time.  What if your child didn’t want to go to bed on time or brush their teeth, would you allow it? The answer is, NO!   So the real question is why do you say you don’t want to force them to do something.  The real true answer is you aren’t sure if this is worth pushing or forcing or arguing  with them over.   That leads to the old defeatist statement – We chose our battles wisely.  I know this is true for some, but the reality is, you know what is right for your child and what their future will hold if you do force, encourage and stay consistent with an activity you will see and achieve results unimaginable.  If I had a dollar for every person that heard my speech and didn’t listen I would be a millionaire. However, I also have heard those that did take my words of advice, stood tall and held their ground.  They have come back to me with praise and accolades on why it was the best choice they ever made.   

Exceptional-ism is forged on consistency and practice, going through trials, tribulations, failure and success is all part of the journey.  A student only becomes exceptional if you they put the time in or you push the envelope for them.  Remember, they are no aware and do not have the knowledge you have to make decisions. That is why it is called coaching or parenting.  I have taught martial arts for over 35 years.  I have taught 10’s of thousands of students in my martial art school.  I have taught all over the world and have even coached thousands of martial art school owners and teachers.  My goal is to encourage you to stop searching and simply stick with your activity and become amazing becp,e EXCEPTIONAL.   

Friday, January 5, 2018

Push through the Pain of the things you don’t like.

How we can push through what we do not like to do it over and over and learn it and get used to it then you can be liberated from it.

When I was a very young child my parents enrolled me in a martial art school. My memories of that
school consisted of a huge amount of fun but I don’t recall it being the fun that we look at these days. In other words, within my schools we disguise repetition through fun drills and exercises that capture the child’s imagination and creative learning. We even do this with teens and youth as well. It is more of a science than anything else and as teachers we have to understand the way the mind works.

I do admit, we live in a totally different time then when I was a child and we have to adapt to the times. What I remember as fun, really was hard work, exercise and repetition. I remember even at 3 and 4 years old, my goal was to be amazing. I don’t know if it was my mindset, but I was very competitive and I always wanted to strive to be the best at all I could do and even be the best in the class. I also remember classes being extremely difficult and the tone would change. My teachers would put me through the class and it seemed they were mad at me. I never let them see me demotivated but I always wondered why Sensei was mad at me. I would later find out, my mom has spoken to him about me talking back to her, or not doing my chores or being disrespectful. In fact, they never mentioned it to me in class, however they showed me. I would ask my mom why Sensei was mean today and she would say because I spoke to him about being disrespectful. I am not sure now, if the lesson would be as well received with our generation of parents and children. However for me, it taught me many valuable lessons:

1) Life is not fair.

2) Life has its ebbs and flows. Sometimes things don’t go my way.

3) Life inevitably will beat you up at times.

4) Life is not always about getting what you want, sometimes you have to suck it up and deal with it.

5) Life is not a big fluffy place. Sometimes the world could be cruel.

I realized at a very young age, that life is not about getting everything my way. In fact a great lesson that I learned was even though I am not getting my way, I have to find a way to make it suit me. In others words, I need to find the good in every situation as difficult as it may be and ask myself “how does this situation suit me?” Since I was a 3 years old, I was brought up in the martial arts. I learned to deal with life through an esoteric philosophy and Eastern mindset. I was taught that failure was a good thing. In fact, without it, I could never succeed. If I did succeed without failing then it was far too easy to learn and do.

I learned early on, that if I expected of felt the world, people, instructors, bosses or teachers owed me something I was in for a rude awakening. However, in public school, I did an awful lot of blaming others for my lack of success. Until I realized all the whining in the world wasn’t going to save me and I needed to take my success in my own hands, I basically struggled. I was continually looking for others to change my outcome. I know now, there are many people that may assist on my journey however not as many people will be there taking me through it. I am responsible for it.

The other day I had a few very interesting conversations with parents of students in my school. Interestingly enough, they both had the same theme. The theme was, I was urging the parents to push the children past their comfort zone or stumbling blocks. Their response was “I know my child and that is not the way things work with them.” What this leads me to believe is they have accepted their behavior as who they are, not looking at their potential. Everyone has a god given potential. Some use it while others don’t even recognize it. Sadly, some of the most talented people don’t recognize their potential. I can say from experience that some of my best students were not those that had recognized their god given potential and a natural ability. It was those that recognized their potential and pushed hard to become the best they could be.

The reason why I wrote this article was from a comment that my Yoga instructor said during one of our sessions and it is very similar to what I say as a martial art teacher. We have to push through the pain, expand our comfort zone, so that the things we do not like, become easy and we can do them without any stress or ill feelings. Even though they still may not be our favorite activities, they are still activities that we do not try to avoid. We have to push through the pain, through the boredom, through the repetitiveness. We have to inspire ourselves to do it because it is good for us, not because we love it and enjoy it so much. We do it because it is what we need, no matter who difficult it is.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Mom and Dad I want to quit, Can you quit with me?

The title of this article may sound confusing; however, when you read on, you will see the relevance to a parent’s life and common daily occurrences. I have been running a martial art school for almost 30 years. Before running this particular school I ran another school when I was a teen-ager. So I have been around parents and children for almost 4 decades. 

Image result for picture of a quitterWe have a saying amongst martial art school owners – “behind every demotivated student, there is a demotivated parent.” Before you get angry, stop reading or take that saying the wrong way, allow me to explain. I realize most parents are the most motivated individuals on the planet. I also realize that parents dedicate their lives to the pursuit of happiness, the success of their children and they will stop at nothing to help their children achieve these goals. 

However, the problem in parenting at times is lack of tools or strategies and methodology of parenting skills. After all, there are not many courses, out there that teaches a fool proof system on parenting. No matter whether your child is in the martial arts, plays a sport, instrument or it has to do with school, we all run into the same problems. Children get bored, frustrated and want to quit. My school has been open so long, that I get to see children grow up to be adults and even have children of their own and they rarely say, they were happy they quit. Most of the time, I hear stories of how the adult has been regretful their entire lives because they didn’t stick with their martial art training and should have continued. In fact many parents enroll their children because they wished they hadn’t quit when they were younger. They blame their parents saying things like “they were the parents, I was the child, I didn’t know any better,” or they say things like, “They should have made me stay, and my life would have turned out much different than it did.” 

In a parent’s defense, being a parent myself, we tend to choose our battles. We don’t want to go through life miserable continually bargaining, fighting and arguing to get our children to do what is the correct thing for them. Remember the last time you checked out at the super market and your child started bargaining for gum or candy. You said “No,” but eventually gave in. However, if we don’t parent (teach and discipline), then what is the sense to parenting at all. It is easy to be a parent, but the art of actual parenting is difficult. 

So our article title “Mom and Dad I want to quit, can you quit with me,” is so true, because when a child is bored or demotivated and they want to stop. The parent may stand strong and fight the child or even force them to go to their martial art classes or other activities. But eventually the child will win out. With enough pressure from the child, enough tantrums, enough struggles, a parent loses their motivation. So in essence the child pressures the parent into quitting as well. We may not see it that way, but the reality is both the child and parent quit. We realize as parents that a child has so many opportunities in the 21st century, they quit martial arts, they take up gymnastics, and they quit gymnastics they take up swimming and soccer. You get my point, they are in a perpetual cycle of quitting. Which will eventually become a character trait whether you like it or not. Children rarely stick with many activities long enough for them to benefit them in the real world. To become amazing. They quit long before, they master, or semi master that particular skill. 

The martial arts due to its diverse nature, it can help a student young and old in a myriad of ways. However, some are not evident until they experience that particular lesson or struggle. So for example as they get older and start college, they may find the discipline that they have learned long ago in their martial art classes can be applied to their schooling. Or even their job, or interview process and most of all it is never too late to learn self-defense. So why is it that people quit? It is quite simple; complacency of the activity, or routine and boredom breeds contempt or lack of interest. Because of the way the activity is perceived it is looked at as a stimulant. In other words, they get used to it and it is in their mind the same old, same old is going on... Repetition breeds contempt in many cases, however it is the most important part of mastery.

It is our goal as martial art teachers to always keep things fresh but what makes a martial art teachers job so difficult is they deal with children for many years. At least in the public school system a teacher and the student spend a year together then they move on. Even in our school system this type of learning is failing our children. They become great at cramming for a test, spending way to little time mastering the material and moving on. They do not work toward mastery, they work on mediocrity. There is very little time or enough time to stay on a topic to become proficient at it. In fact I coined the phrase “mastery not mediocrity.” 

In a martial art school with years of repetition a child turns to an adult and continually becomes proficient at “The Self.” They are always improving who they are as human beings and growing.

Check out this testimonial I just received. 

“Hello Shihan I've been thinking about this for a while and I've been having this idea bounce around my head for a years. I still remember the times when I was younger and I trained with you all the way up to brown belt as a child. I was very nervous knowing that I would be eventually taking my black belt test and I decided to quit. I have to say, I regret this still to this day. It's something that I still harp on at times and I would live to actually earn my black belt and practice for the rest of my life. I wonder if my life would have taken a different path if I stuck with you and the martial arts. I don't know if you know for the last 5 year I moved and started a new life in a new state and I seen that you just opened a new dojo which is literally 10 minutes from me in Delray. My mom has been an inspiration to me that she kick boxes and started off with you as well. I feel like I need an outlet and would like to join your dojo again. And start over learning Ninjutsu, possibly to complete my goal and journey toward being a better person. 

In essence this person regretted quitting for many years and this is only one out of hundreds of students that have told me this. 

You may be asking – what can you do to win this battle as a parent? 

Here are some suggestions: 

1) Always be the parent. Never allow your child to decide things on their own or coerce you through resistance to change your mind. All Character trait are developed within the first 10 years of a child’s life. This is a very crucial time. So within this time you need to set good examples and make choices for your child. As difficult as it is, or as hard as it may feel, you must persevere. This is the trait we are also teaching your child. So if you allow them to quit, or you say I choose my battles wisely you in essence are sealing their fate to be that way for ever. It takes a ton of really dedicated hard work to change your personality or character traits.

2) Teach the “Stick-to-itiveness” Attitude. Many times parents will say, we are not quitting we are going to finish out our year. Or the Smith Family are not quitters we are just taking a break. I know that when they say this, they just don’t want to admit to themselves that they are quitting. Stopping after a year is quitting. If you went to college and stopped after a semester or a year and didn’t go back, that would be considered quitting. However, we don’t like to label ourselves or children as quitters, but if they start and don’t complete the skill to at least black belt then they quit. 

3) Understand that your children will not hate you, if you force them to do what is right for them. They may not like you for a small period of time, but they will love you in the end. I have never had a child who received their black belt say “my parents made me go and I hate them because of it.” They always thank them, hug them and say they love them because of it. So do not stop, push through the hard times. It is you as the parent that has to be strong for the both of you. Your martial art teachers will be there with you through thick and thin. Changing hats, personalities and language as your child grows through the ranks, always deepening or attempting to their relationship with your child or you as an adult. 

In closing, if you had a crystal ball, you would see that keeping your kids in any activity for a long time is beneficial. Teaching them the “I am not going to quit attitude”, will change their lives forever. The martial arts are life changing in every way but you have to stick with it long enough to see that. Also, remember the old saying, “Quitters, never win and Winners never Quit!? Don’t allow you children to stop, because the benefits are endless. Take this from a dad and a martial art instructor with over 50 years of experience.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Ninja Parenting tips 101

Ninja Parenting tips 101 - By Allie Alberigo - Shihan 

When why daughter was a young child - I used every technique and trick I knew to get compliance and results. Have you ever had a problem with getting your child to do what you want? Having asked numerous times, reasoned and even bribed with no results? Sometimes it seems you are at your wits end and ready to give up. But all is not lost, sometimes is it not a matter of having a difficult or bad child. It is the simple lack of knowledge and tools/weapons a parent has in their arsenal to get the desired results. Try these little tricks to lower your stress level and get better results when you need them. 

Some answers to your issues come straight from the martial art floor of a Ninja Master. I have been teaching martial arts for over 35 years. Running a school in my town for 27 years and also, performing and training in the martial arts for 50 years this year (2017 when this was written). If that isn’t enough, I am also the proud parent of a college girl, who is excelling in her first year at Oneonta state, in Oneonta NY. 

Try some ageless tips. 

1) Instead of using reasoning, turn all obstacles or lack of motivation into a contest. Do not personally compete, because that could open up an entirely new can of worms for you. Utilizing time as your assistant and if necessary the bad buy. I remember when my daughter was young, I would ask for her to get into her Pajama’s and she would drag her feet. She obviously didn’t want to go to bed and the connection to the P.J.’s made her feel like that was in the immediate future. I would say, “hey, I will time you and you see how quick you can put on your P.J’s. Yesterday you did it in 2 minutes. Can you beat that. Are you ready? Set. Go…………….” She would be running to her bedroom. It was amazing at how quick she loved to get her P.J’s on at that point. There were no hassles or stress. It was simply a race against the clock and fun for her. We used this with many activities – and the results were similar. Heck I use this in my school all the time. You can use your creative imagination. 

2) Setting a clear understanding of actions and consequences. Most of the time in my martial art school I witness parents threatening punishment if their child doesn’t perform a specific task. If the child doesn’t comply many parents simple brush over it and they do not follow up. This leads the child to believe they are empty promises or threats and they have no consequences for their action. 

The goal of course is to show the child you mean what you say. You must follow up and follow through. Also, establish a clear understanding of what the punishment is and also why they are receiving it. I would often ask my daughter after she didn’t do something properly “if that is the way she is expected to act?” Sometimes I would say “would a Ninja act like that?” She would reply with a logical answer and say “no.” Then I would reply with okay then don’t act like that and I will not permit it or (then I would lay out the punishment). “Do we understand each other?” Very rarely did I ever have to punish her. She clearly understood right from wrong and that I meant business. 

3) Do not allow yourself to lose your cool. Speak in a calm voice no matter how frustrated you are. If you need time to step away and gather your thoughts, do so. Remember there is only one letter that separates Danger and Anger. If you can sort through your feelings in a calm tone expressing to your child how you feel they will be more empathetic and react properly. Think and speak to your child so you can think of your best line of action. Remember - Calm heart, calm mind. 

4) Set up clear rules that are age appropriate. Often within my school kids come to class unprepared. There are two different sets of parenting skills which I see on a daily basis. Those that will be hard noses and make their kids responsible for their action. They will allow their child to show up unprepared because they have asked and gotten no results so they have them deal with me. I am never happy if they are unprepared. So the parents know that the consequences will be dealt with at my school. However, what this does is make me out to be the bad guy and the parents the good guy. It doesn’t help me connect with the child and doesn’t create good habits at home and a respectful child. I would rather they didn’t use me as a tool to do this, but speak to me secretly and allow me to talk to the child without them even knowing. We use “Mat Chats” to accomplish this. This is where we talk to the entire class in hypotheticals and they hear it deeply because they know they just did that particular thing. However, they are not being reprimanded publically or by me as their teacher. 

The other set of parents blames themselves for the lack of preparedness. This to me is the same offense, just a different person to blame. However they are removing the level of responsibility from the child and putting it on themselves with no consequences what so ever. They also create a non-compliant child. This teaches the child it is okay not to come to class prepared. That it is no big deal and the wishes of the instructor rules of the school or public school are not a high priority. 

My suggestion is of an entirely different nature. I recommend setting up and creating good habits through continuous repetition. Always teaching the child a set way of doing things, leaving less room for error. In other words, continually setting time to prepare their uniform or do their homework. Make sure it is done the same time every day and in the same way. Make it a part of the child’s routine. This way, they do it without thinking and do not resist it. Nothing is worse than failing continuously and not doing anything to change the negative behavior. I teach my students to do personal inventory. Meaning checking and double checking what is needed for school, or for other sports or for their martial arts training. This lesson will help them in everything they do going forward in their life. It is not micromanaging; it is setting your child up for success 

Shihan Allie Alberigo is a parent, martial art instructor, Vegan and Animal Activist as well as public speaker, actor and the author of 5 books. If you have any questions or would like to see an article written on a particular parenting issue you are having, simply comment below or email us at shihan@lininja.com

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Ninja Parenting - Top 6 parenting ideas for kids ages 1 - 15!

Ninja Parenting
Top 6 parenting ideas for kids ages 1 - 15!

I am a father of an 18 year old daughter who is in college.  I consider myself pretty up to date in regards to parenting, the mindset of the 21st century parent and also as an educator.  Having run a martial art school for 27 years, I have taught 10’s of thousands of children, teens and adults.  I have taken parenting courses, read countless books and audio series and studied the mindset of children and parenting from many different people and philosophies for almost 3 decades. 

My view of parenting is this:
Years ago, you may have heard things being spoken from parents like, "No! Means No!, or Stop that or you are going to pay later!, Don't you talk to me that way, it is disrespectful and you are going to regret it!” In my martial art school I would hear things like “bow and be respectful and make eye contact when speaking to your instructor or an adult."  These catch phrases were a little more common place in my schools, 20 years ago, than they are now, although in my school and many martial art schools around the country you still hear these phrases. 

I think many of the old catch phrases were cast aside due to modernized parenting skills.  Many of the new parents felt that by parenting you risked and had the fear of ruining our children by making mistakes. So we replaced terms like “Suck it up, or deal with it with phrases like your awesome, Give me a high five, okay - we will get you a sticker or prize when we leave, here is two dollars for the gift you pestered me for, or hey, the big threat, I am going to take away your iPad if you don't listen.”    

Pointing out there has been an incredible shift in parenting styles since I was a kid. Some of the new age or younger parents still practice what could be called old school mentality. When growing up their parents taught them this mindset and they are still passing it on to their children.  However, many are not.  I was raised by a single mom, who worked three jobs and barely had time to be home to parent me.  My dad wasn’t really a disciplinarian and didn’t do much parenting.  My mom did an amazing job, with the cards she was dealt.  I had to do a ton of growing up on my own.  This left room for some serious mistakes and a lot of sheer luck, that I didn't kill myself or end up in prison.  Well, maybe it wasn't that extreme but the old saying is "the village helps raises your children is 100% true."  I learned a ton from experiences and living life, some good some bad. 

Fast forward ahead, I did the opposite when raising my daughter.  I watched over her, held her hand through every phase of life.  I admit I sheltered her.  I reviewed every show she watched, reviewed the kids she played with and scrutinized and watched over her school, dance and music teachers like a hawk.  Heck, to this day, she is still a little green in regards to street smarts. I did this all out of love and the desire for my child to be exceptional.  You may be asking, well did it work?  The answer is Yes and No!  She is a great kid, who stayed away from trouble her entire life and is a straight “A” student.  She is confident, caring and compassionate and driven.  So in those areas, she is perfect in every way. I am not just saying that because she is my daughter (well maybe a little, lol).  However, when she went away to college I was nervous if she can do it on her own. 

She just is completing her first semester away and it seems that she is flourishing.  She is doing amazing well academically and living on her own without a hitch. She has proven to be more street smart then I thought she would be and really doing amazingly well.  So the question is, did I do a good job. I think that I did, could I have done somethings differently? Maybe!  Although based on the results my parenting skills worked.  So I want to share some skills I used while raising my daughter. 

Here are 6 tips Ninja tips for parenting.  From a Ninja teachers perspective!  

1)       Be a parent, not a friend, you can create a bond that is even deeper then you imagined being the parent.  Friends come and go, but a parent is there forever. Don’t worry, if you child will love you if you make them do something they do not like. I have found it to be the exact opposite.  Parenting and holding your child to a standard will make them love you even more.  They might not love you at that moment, but they love you.   
2)       We need to be the guiding force in a child’s life.  Do not adapt the saying, I will choose my battles wisely. Every time you allow a child to get what they want, out of choosing your battles wisely.  You allow them to establish the higher ground for negotiation and believe they are in charge.  Remember, being a parent is easy, parenting is difficult. Sometimes you may not be your child’s favorite person. However, you will always be the love of their life. 
3)       Lead by example – the old saying “Do as I say not as I do, doesn’t work.”  Statistics will show a that a child is 50% more likely to do what they see their parents do.  This goes for drinking, drugs, diet, language, and personal preference.  So you are setting the tone for your child’s life by what they see you do.   Be the example, lead by example.
4)       Don’t give into peer pressure by trying to keep up with the people around you.  Remember,  just because the other kids are playing a sport, doesn’t mean you have to as well.  Do your best to fit your child with activities that will benefit them.  I always recommend martial arts because the lessons are endless.  Many team sports are great too, but they essence is on the game, the team and winning the game.  In martial arts, you work on you and there are many areas that you can excel in.   We have a saying “There are no bench warmers in the martial arts.” 
5)       Teach your child to be independent, confident and live a life of love and compassion.  Again, the martial arts are great for this.  Many times though, parents are confused about what develops confidence and self-esteem.  This is not an inherent character trait. It is something learned and developed through trial and error, blood sweat and tears.  With parenting, it is difficult because we never want to see our kids unhappy.  So we fear when pushing our children to do what they may not like.  We may ruin them.   I always told my daughter that she had to spar (fight) in tournaments. Even though she said, she didn’t want to. I would say “to bad, you are doing it anyway.” Maybe not in those exact words, but I knew she wasn’t always happy and at times cried, but now that she is in college, she is able to deal with stressful situations and in her own words praised her martial art training for her many successes. She said that in her own words. 

6)       Focus on the important things.  Filling your child’s life with a “To do list,” will not make them happy productive children.  I am believer that the more is better mindset or the we want our child to experience many things is not the right way.  This way allows them to go through life without any real sense of success. If they dabble in many different activities, jumping from one to the other, they may have a full resume with tons of experiences, but they will never have a chance to shine and excel and be proud of being amazing at something.  Even though they may not love a particular activity but becoming proficient at it, gives them lessons that can be taken from that activity and it will spill over into all they do.  

Allie Alberigo is a father, martial art instructor, writer, blogger, vegan activist and business coach and owner. If you have any questions or comments you can do it write here on the blog or email him at shihan@lininja.com  

Friday, November 10, 2017

Mindfulness from a Warriors Mindset!

Mindfulness from a Warriors Mindset!

I sometimes find the written word as a way for me to voice my opinion and to relieve myself of thoughts, frustrations, pain, or cheer.  I love to share how I feel, but most of all I love to share the things that I have learned over my almost 52 years on the planet.  Just like most authors, I see how the written word can be taken in so many ways.  Some authors love to be so descriptive, not leaving any room for the reader’s imagination. They control the color of the leaves on the tree, the smell that you smell, the feel of the scene as well as the what you should be thinking while reading.  However, I like to write in more of an Eastern way leaving your space for “food for thought.”  I personally like to reader to interpret my story, my words or my ideas to fit into their world, their imagination and their life. 

Unfortunately as I see this more and more on social media, people tend to see one story, from an entirely different point of view that was meant by the writer.  For example: The reader may see themselves sitting across the table from another person in deep conversation.  There are two cups on the table one is full and the other half empty. The cups represent the pessimistic mind and the optimistic mind.  One person grabs the cup that is full and pulls it in front of them, saying I always think from an optimistic point of view, and you (as they push the half empty cup across the table) always think from a pessimistic point of view.  The person on the other side of the table, reaches out and respectfully disagree ’s and switches the cup saying the same.

Each person sees themselves as the person who is optimistic from their perspective, while the other may disagree vehemently.   This is reality perception, the thought that each person believes what they think is true.  Meaning  “YOUR” reality, is your perception or your perception creates your own reality.  In other words, you create your own belief and world to some extent by believing a specific thought. This is easily understood, when one person says they hate the outdoors and camping, when another loves it, or one person loves spicy food, while the other cannot stand the taste of it. Two different realities both are true.  I was once on a wilderness retreat with my students up in the Catskill mountains. We climbed to the top of the peak on our way to this wonderful place called the “Ice Caves.”  Two students who were a couple stopped as the guy said to his girlfriend “take a picture.”   The girl friend replied “of what?”  He said “the beautiful scenery and nature!”  She then rolled her eyes and let out a breath of frustration and said “I am not wasting my film on nature, nature is stupid.”  We laughed for years about this, however, it was her reality and it was tremendously different from her boyfriend. 

Now here lies the dilemma of a Warrior or a Sensei!  At times, through experience an instructor, teaches from a plethora of experiences. Some of them came from the school of hard knocks, others came from years of making mistakes, while most of it, is a culmination of many, many years of life experiences.  When I teach, I teach from the position I stand in now, with 49 years of martial art training behind me and almost 53 years of life experience.  I also share the lessons from my point of view and over 35 years of teaching to 10’s of thousands of students all over the world.  This doesn’t come without a price though.  Because, as a teacher I have to find a way to slowly baby step people into a specific mindset, working piece by piece to understand something that currently their mind is simply not prepared to understand.   For those reading this that are adults and once heard their parents say when you are my age you will understand and they scoffed at their comments, now realize they were true in most cases.   Experience is what led them to the lesson.

The dilemma that I face continuously as a teacher is simple, how do you explain what you foresee happening in the future before it happens.   Similar to a personal trainer or doctor saying if you continue to eat in this way, you will end up fat, have clogged arteries and possibly die of a myriad of different illnesses.  The mind has been studied for hundreds of years and it is quite adaptable to believing what makes it feel  the best at that moment in time. In other words, it will block out negative thought or the reality of what a person is doing to themselves in order for them to achieve short term in the moment happiness.

My point being, it is difficult for a teacher to sometimes push a student (a parent) to see these ways, because, honestly it basically boils down to trust and letting go.  I understand as a parent of a young women, who has trained in the martial arts for over 16 years, this is not easy.  We as parents protect our children and as adults we avoid things that are uncomfortable.  It is not easy to have trust, when so many stories in the media, bad experiences and what you see going on around you, asks you to question everything.  I believe that you should never follow blindly and question something if they see something that makes them uncomfortable.  However, from a self-defense point of view, we find when this happens it puts a huge learning curve on the lessons taught.  Sometimes it even gets in the way and stops the individuals  progress. 

This article to some may come off as the reader being told what to do, or the listener being reprimanded or force fed a philosophy that they may not subscribe to.  Some may say it is someone trying to get the reader to DRINK the Cool-aide.  When in fact it is nothing more than trying to get listeners to shave years off the learning curve or potentially overcome the feelings of quitting the lesson due to not understanding the integrity of it.

You may be thinking, where does the lesson in Mindfulness come in.   Well, here we go……….
During the holidays I talk to my students young and old about being mindful of how lucky we are.  I went around the room of a youth class yesterday and asked my students “what is mindfulness? What is it that you are happy for this holiday season.”  They all responded with amazing answers, - love and appreciate my family, my pets, my aunts and uncles, my grandparents, the clothes I have, the food on the table etc.”  All of these are amazing answers!  I then simply asked how are you mindful of this.  Most of them had no way of expressing it.  I then asked the students what their favorite food was and I got a host of different answers.  I asked them, “when was the last time you actually, recognized how delicious the food was.  As I spoke to the students  my daughter was listening in and verified, that when I eat and really enjoy something, as I chew I say “Mmmmm, this is delicious.” I may do that over and over as I take a bit to eat, but it is my way of taking the time to appreciate each bite and each taste of food and recognize its excellence.  I recognize being mindful and being mindful is about being in the moment and seeing clearly the different layers of what is going on.

What are Layers?
Well, there is so much to be mindful of.  For example, in the food, it is not only about the final product and the taste, it is about appreciating what ingredients and seasoning that went into the food. It is about the actual cooking and effort that went into the preparation before the food was cooked.  We can go deeper by thinking of how the food was grown or prepared and really being mindful of what goes into that simple meal.  In essence it is all about the taste, but all of those things enhance the taste.  I asked if the students understood that. They said, “they did.”  I then asked how many actually do what I say and not one person raised their hands.  Mindfulness takes practice. 

The Lesson of a different path!
The other night I taught a sparring class.  We were all geared up, headgear, handgear, foot gear, mouth piece etc.  We were about to start sparring – fighting each other.  While I realize fighting to me, has a different meaning then it does to some students and parents, I see it from a “Martial” point of view.  In other words, I see this from a battle point of view or the preparation for battle.  I realize it is a sport, it is the light version of the sport, however, I see this as a preparation for real life, for Self-Defense.  I do not TEACH a sport martial art, even though we teach sporting aspects of the art.

While I was teaching the class parents looked on in the lobby of my school.  From what one of my instructors saw, they were commenting on how, this kid hit the other kid, how that was not fair, or out of control or mean or negative.   They were riling each other up, and speaking negatively about the class, some of the students and even myself. They went on to say, I wasn’t watching, paying attention, or I did not see, what was going on.  The reality was I was totally 100% in the moment.  From my point of view, I saw every student and what was going on. In my mind, I was processing and creating situations of each event.  One kid was going to hard, so I encouraged him to lighten up, all while watching his opponent for safety.  I watched another young boy that every time his opponent charge him, he would turn his eyes away and fall to the ground. I reprimanded him and explained to him, that he can’t do that and had to speak to him in a loud stern voice in which some people see as yelling.  My yoga teacher would say, it is volume, in order to jar, listening. 

I watched the shy little girl as she timidly fought a person that I handpicked for her as an opponent etc.  This all was going on, as parents who really are inexperienced in coaching, or the martial arts watched and saw only what their mind would allow, their own perspective.  My 49 years of experience was in TOTA
L control of the class.  It all boiled down to trust and seeing the lesson. However, from their perspective I realize they couldn’t.  Sometimes we have to trust that the person in charge is making the right decision to teach the lesson.  We have to be mindful of the lesson!  We have to allow the lesson to come into our life.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

I just released this video on You Tube - Check it out. Some amazing footage from Japan

This was a collection of footage that I have archived from my trips to Japan. The main thing is to see the beautfy of traditional martial arts and the magical temples of Japan.  I hope you enjoy this.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Build Your Spiritual Muscles

Today I want to share with you some  thoughts on how you can stay positive in negative times. The danger and devastation that is happening on the planet over the last few months in hard to handle. Texas, Mexico, The Islands and now Florida.

The hurricanes, earth quakes, and even political divide and cultural and religious separation. We discuss building those spiritual muscles, love and compassion and empathy and understanding.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

"The attitude of gratitude, thinking positive and the laws of attraction.”

Hey everyone I wanted to chat about the topic of, "The attitude of gratitude, thinking positive and the laws of attraction.” 

Let me tell you why.  When I started my school I had no idea that it would flourish into something so huge.  Starting off in a 600 square foot school that had one locker room and only enough room for two people to change at a time with an office that was so small there was no room for chairs to sit and talk.  Only one chair fit behind my desk.  All the others had to stand.  Since then I built and opened branch schools in Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Brewster N.Y., Canton Michigan, Bermuda , Long Island and now Flordia.  When I began I only had a few students but soon we outgrew our school.  Before we knew it we were in the Honbu Dojo – the headquarters in West Islip, N.Y. and remain in the same place 26years later.  We have taught thousands upon thousands of students from the ages of 2 years old on up to adults as old as 70. 
What really excites me is the continual contact I have with students that do not actively train with me any longer, but still consider them- selves students.  I wish there was a way to continually teach them even if they live far away and some of them have asked if I could put together an online training regime or class they can attend virtually.  This may be something I do in the near future.  My intention with writing books, doing this blog and shooting videos is to help reach those that are not capable of being at the dojo on a daily basis.  It is my goal to continually share with my students, friends, ex-students and also piers the philosophies that I have developed over my 49 years of training in the martial arts and my 52 years of life.   I remain honored that so many people have entrusted me with their children, themselves and consider me their teacher.  I don’t take this responsibility lightly.  So thank you for reading this, I am honored. 

What is “The Law of Attaction and the Attitude of Gratitude.” How can this benefit you and help enhance your life and your training.  What is this all about?  As you know I believe in Karma – if you want to put a theory to it, you can say  something like – what goes around comes around.  Life is filled with many mysteries.  The old biblical saying – Ask and yee shall receive is very true.  The concept of “The Law of Attraction” is very interesting and very real.  What you wish for you get.  Here are a few key examples. 
Have you ever hummed a song in your head only to find out when you turn the radio on, the song is at that very same spot on when you hear it?  Have you ever thought of some one your care about and you get a call from them soon after.  Have you ever thought of a friend from the past and bumped into them, or someone that knows them.  Why is it that people call this coincidence?  When in fact it could be something way more evidident.   

The simple answer is many people who believe in science or proof as the answer actually now have it.  Some may say that they don’t have an explanation, so it must be coincidence. What if your thoughts and intention really had a powerful imnpact on what you manifest in your life.  Have you ever been happy and found that more and more of the people you associate with are feeling the same way or oppositely have felt sad and found everyone around you or the people that come to you are feeling similarly.  What is it about energy that draws people to you? Both positive and negative?  As a teacher there are times when I walk into a classroom and everyone is feeling the same way, energized, melancholy or angry.  Why is it that an entire room of people can feel this way? Did they all speak to each other and make a conscious decision, this is the way everyone will feel?  Of course not!  So is it possible that this energy lies within all of us and we can sense it and it can serve you.  Sometimes we are not in tune enough to recognize this emotion and act upon it, so we are swept up in it.  Other times we just feel odd and have to get out of the situation or the emotion or simply we dismiss it as a coincidence. 

Have you ever walked into a party and just simply felt out of place.  In your head you said “this is just not right.”  Or have you ever had the weird feeling that someone was starring at you and you found that as you turn you head you are totally correct.  What is this energy that allows you to sense this? There are a few scientific terms for this but most of them are considered science.  Too many times scientists have explained this as a hoax a coincidence or something that simply isn’t real.  But you know as studies go further it is now being proven through scientific study.   So if this is true and it can benfiit us, then what can you do about it? 

The answer is quite simple:  Recognizing - is the first step.  The second step is to journal your experiences. Keep a record of how it happens, when and where.  Once you have written these experiences down for a long enough period of time, you will find some similarities and you can start making deductions as to whether this is real or not to you.   I have one test you can do I which I use all the time.  When ever I am about to enter into a parking lot, I start chanting (Speaking) I wish I had a spot close to the store, over and over again.  As I approach usually a spot is open for me.  If not if I wait just a few seconds and 90% of the time it opens up.  I laugh to myself at how much this works and have even gotten my daughter to do it with me.  I wonder if it will work for you, try it.  

The more you take on the belief of Abundance and tap into the Law of attraction the better off your life will be.  Life is designed to be blissful.  The belief system that you hold in your heart is the life you create.    Sometimes people can’t see through this and end up missing out on so many opportunities and so much happiness.  Abundance is available to everyone, however some chose to live the life of scarcity.  Continually making deductions that things are the way they are because you deserve them or the world is a terrible place.  Remember you create your own destiny.  You are in total control of the people you are with, the people you meet, the way your life is and the direction it is going.  If you chose to have a Black Cloud above your head, then the skies will always be cloudy, no matter how sunny it is.  If you chose to see and experience great things and open yourself up for the manifestation of greatness then it will happen.  As Forest Gumpf famous philosopher once said  “Life is a bowl of cherries.”  Life is what you make it.  Forest thought that way and that is the way it was to him. Some may say, “sure, Forest was an optimist, because he wasn’t mentally fit.”  But the reality is, what you believe is what you see.    

I believe in my gut feelings and instinct.  The times when I didn’t trust it, I found that I really lost out.  Usually the feeling you have about a person, place or thing initially is the correct one.  I had this happen to me recently, when two individuals in my circle, made me feel uncomfortable any time I was in their presence.  But I dismissed it as their mood or that is just the way they are.  So I ignored it. Inevetably it came to a head and turned out exactly how my premonition told me it would.  For example : you meet someone at a party and you like that individual.  Even though they do silly things and they act inappropriately, you still have a feeling of kindness for that person.  You are correct in your assumption.  Likewise in the opposite direction, sometimes people may rub you the wrong way, but how you feel in your gut is usually correct.  Learn to trust in your inner feelings a bit more.  Also, remember this doesn’t mean that this person is a bad person.  They just might not be put on the earth to meld and blend with your energy.  Which could be an entirely different topic. 

I remember some years ago, I had just returned from Japan.  Things were not going all that well in my personal life and I went to go to my dojo to teach.  For some strange reason from the moment I started my car, I had a bad feeling.  I ignored that feeling thinking it was a part of what was going on in my life.  No more then 10 minutes later I ended up in a car accident.  My gut knew, my brain never recognized it.  Sometimes believing in your feelings is a chancy thing. Do you not leave the house when you feel a specific way? I would say NO, this would be no way to live, but understanding that the way you feel would be enough to put you on high alert and that you should be careful or more aware of what is going on in your life at that moment. 

The law of attraction and abundance is something that we all can easily tap into, the simple fact is that you need to believe in it in order for it to happen and benefit from it.  As Depak Chopra said in his book, “The spontaneous Fullfillment of Desire” Think of coincidences as coded messages from the nonlocal intelligence. Pay attention, watch for clues, decipher their meanings and eventually the truth will be revealed.  In many ways, that’s exactly what happens.  After all, life is the ultimate mystery.  

He goes on to say “What makes life mysterious is that our destiny seems hidden from us, and only at the end of our lives will we be in a position to look back and see the path we followed.” 

Life moves so freely from time to time, age to age and it all seems okay when we look back. Even if life treated us unfairly with the proper attitude now, you can make changes that are so blissful.  You can live a fulfilled life. It has nothing to do with money, who you are with, or what job you have.  It is not about what status you have in your life, in your neighborhood or social ladder, it is only about you.  It is about being happy.  The law of attraction will fill your life with happiness if you believe you deserve it and work toward it.  You can not just wake up in the morning look in the mirror and say to yourself you are happy, when truly in your heart you are miserable.  You must start feeling that way a little at a time.  If a person is depressed, movement and a change of scenery sometimes make a difference but the mind is what controls your emotions. 

Sadly more so now then ever in my life time, it appears to be fashionable to be pessimistic, negative, confrontational and mean at times.  We tend to not think before we speak and if we speak in written text we seem to not even care, what we say and who it hurts or offends. We used curse words as if they are now a part of our language in the most inappropriate times, we think of free speech as being the write to allow us to put down, be negative and hurt others.  We are leaning more toward a violent society rather than a utopian one. 

A great story I read was about a terminally ill man in a hospital bed.  He was positioned in the middle of the room so he was one bed away from the window.  There was another man that was adjacent to the window next to him and continually looked out telling the other man all that went on outside his window.  The other man became bitter and started to resent the other man.  Even though on a regular basis the other man told him of all that was going on and when he did the other man was brought happiness.  The man in his inner mind became more and more bitter but enjoyed the stories of all that was going on outside the window.  Late at night the man closest to the window died of a heart attack.  The man in the middle felt sad for the loss of his room mate, but aslo felt happy that he could now have the spot next to the window.  Later that day they brought in another patient and the man screamed at the nurse.  It is my turn at the window. I am stuck here in this bed and I want to see all that is going on. The nurse shrugged her shoulders and obliged the old man.  When he arrived at his spot near the window he found nothing but a brick wall.  No view, no people and nothing going on.  He immediately felt sadness and realized the other man was making up those stories for his benefit and each day shared his love.  He received happiness by making someone else happy.  Perception is everything isn’t it?

As the Dalai Lama has said time and time again, you must train your mind. Train it as if it were a muscle.  For the muscle to grow strong you must work hard and exercise it daily.  A while ago, I was speaking with someone about religion.  In our conversation we spoke about subjecting your mind to specific areas.  For example: spending time with someone who curses regularly will create a space in your mind for this behavior.  I used to curse when I was younger but I never to curse any more. I very rarely slip I my head, but never out loud.  I do not use foul language of any type.  I think that it is unnecessary with the large vocabulary that is available to us.  My life was not always this way.  I had to re-train my mind.  I eliminated this kind of thought process to the point that it was no longer in my vocabulary.  Even when reading books – which I love to do, if they have curses I will replace the word with the letter or glance over it, not even reading it, not subjecting myself even to the thought.  It makes it much easier for me not to curse that way.  In this day an age, people do this without thinking. Speaking this way in front of children, men and women writing on social media and in my opinion it shows a lack of respect for others.  Why do this if you don’t have to?  Retrain your mind. 

Similarly you can do this with anything you want, sadness, happiness, violence etc.  Why not just retrain the mind to think a specific way.  Think positive thoughts, happy thoughts and believe in the law of attraction.  If you want more from life, then think this way, and spend time with people, places and things that will enhance this behavior. Wish for it and it will come, believe in it and it will be there for you.  Ask and yee shall receive.   

I have spoken about this many times in my seminars.  The easiest way it is to keep a tally, or if you can go out and by a bag of black marbles and white marbles and for each negative thought put in a black marble in a cup and for every positive thought put in a white marble.  It is your goal at the end of the day to have more white marbles then black.  At the end of the day write down how you did and start from scratch again. The goal is to recognize the way you are thinking and the things you are doing.  Change the process and retrain how you do it.  If you find your boss to be annoying, do not utter under you breathe what an idiot, think of something positive about that person.  Even when they are mean to you, think of something positive that you can say or do or feel, maybe thinking he works harder then anyone I know, or at the least maybe his life is tough at the top.  

Remember forgiving someone is to forget as well. Many time people say they are going to forgive but never forget. So later in life they end up bringing up the issues from the past only to reinforce that of the present.  In order to truly forgive you must truly forget.  So think positively and let it go.  Put a white marble in the cup.  Think of the abundance of happiness as a thought process.  

Here is a great scenario.  I spoke of this in my book “The Beginners Guide to Ninpo” and my newer book that is is called  “21st Century Ninjutsu.” Your personal philosophy is your DNA.  It will allow you to be happy or make your sad.  The goal is to think in such a way that will allow you the most happiness.  Remember the song, don’t worry be happy?  Well, if you think about it, what is it that makes you unhappy?  I taught my daughter from a very young age that she has the power to change her mood in the snap of her fingers.  She has two choices to either be happy or be sad.  What would she prefer to be?  Being a strong minded young girl she would sometimes point at one of my others fingers as I held them up saying “Mad.”  I told her it is okay to be mad but do you want to be happy or sad or even mad.  She would always think about it and chose the finger that represented happiness.  She would make the choice and I would then go on to tickle her into tears. She loved that.  It was our little game.  She is now going away to college to start her life as a young women.  As she gets older it is harder for me to shift her moods, because she is an independent thinker and she has to make that choice for herself.  So I use a method we use in our schools called “a pattern interrupts.”  This is utilized to get the person to think of an entirely different thing. It works well for children who are grumpy or crying.  I will ask them questions to take their mind off of the reason that they may be crying or grumpy. It works 99% of the time. 
You can use a pattern interrupt on yourself, by making the decision to be happy you change your entire physical make up, your “DNA” so to speak.  Doctors have found that laughter is a cure for many illnesses.  Why not prescribe more laughter. Or as an individual spend more time around it, reading about it, watching it on TV or thinking about it.  
I hope you enjoyed what I had to say so far and I hope that some of the methods that I recommended you have either written down or burned into your memory.  It is your choice if you want to live the life of Abundance, because abundance is a decision on your part.  There are many people with all the money in the world and anything they want, yet still miserable.  You see this with Rock and Movie stars continuously.  It is not about what you have it is all about what you appreciate and what you feel.    The opposite rings true when individuals have nothing, yet they are blissful.  Humans have only one desire and that is to be happy.  Sometimes short term people may chose a quick fix, like smoking, drinking or drugs.  This will temporarily fix how they feel altering how they see things. In the long term this will only make the situation worse.  So in the end the best choice is the training of the mind.  Re-training the mind to recognize sadness as a part of life, realizing that you can’t be happy all the time, but also it is the choices you make and how you perceive things that will make you happy.  

On a trip to Thailand some years ago I witnessed people who virtually according to our standards lived in shacks and had nothing.  People who didn’t have a floor or running water, but I saw smiles on their faces. The fathers loving their children and husbands and wives hand in hand very happy.  With out all the materialistic things how did they continue being happy.  It was a conscious decision I am sure and their perception of happiness was based off of their believe systems.  To a homeless person a roof over their head and a warm meal would be amazing.  To a millionaire with all the money in the world this would be torture.  What is your perception?  What do you want in life, what will make you happy. 

I want to recommend a few books to you –
1)   The Five Gateways to Happiness – by ME  - Allie Alberigo
2)   The spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire – by Depak Chopra.
3)   The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama
4)   The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Depak Chopra
5)   Many Live many Master by Brian Weiss
6)   Manifest your Destiny – by Wayne Dyer
7)   Awaken the Giant Within – by Tony Robbins